Growing up, we’ve all had our fair share of experiences seeing new faces, meeting new people, and making new friends — It feels natural by this point. But networking, on the other hand, is truly an art. Take a look at these common networking mistakes that you may not even realize you’re making.
Only building your network when you’re looking for a job.
Networking isn’t about frantically gathering professional contacts and perilously trying to sell your skills once you’re out of a job. Yikes, that kind of desperation isn’t fun! Work on building your network while you’re employed, too. It feels more organic, and it’ll definitely come in clutch when you actually do need something.
Not following up.
The networking doesn’t end once you have some new business cards in your hand. End your interactions on a positive note by reaching out later and extending a thank you for their time. This is also a great time to follow through with any immediate actions you guys discussed — like if you promised you’d send over additional information or connect them with an industry contact.
Not asking questions.
So many people are focused on talking up their skills and expertise while networking, they totally forget that it’s a two-way conversation! Don’t forget about asking questions. Listen and learn about how this person can benefit you, too.
Expecting instant gratification.
Slow your roll! You can’t expect a job offer right after a networking event. Realistically, networking is a process that’s meant to pay off over time. Keep your relationships strong with your professional network and you’ll see results.
Not knowing your pitch.
How confident are you with your personal brand? When you enter a networking event, you should be able to deliver a clear and concise pitch about who you are professionally, what your skills are, and what your goals look like. If you can’t convey this in a confident manner, you’re not convincing anyone!
Forgetting business cards.
Business cards might not even cross your mind if you’re still a student, but they’re important! Having a set of cards at a networking events establishes credibility, and it’s much more professional (and practical) than handing out your contact information on a piece of paper.